Panthers' Brian Burns, Bengals' Tee Higgins highlight franchise tags used for 2024 NFL season


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NFL teams had until 4 p.m. Tuesday to place a franchise tag on a player of their choosing, and several used this window to lock in key contributors for the 2024 season. 

Next on the NFL offseason list will be the free agency period, which begins March 13, when some players expected to be in the franchise tag conversation can start talking to other teams to reach a new deal. 

Let’s take a look at some franchise-tagged players who still have a chance to negotiate a long-term deal before their price tags are locked in for 2024.

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Brian Burns looks on

Brian Burns of the Carolina Panthers on the sidelines before facing the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium Nov. 26, 2023, in Nashville. (Silas Walker/Getty Images)

LB Brian Burns – Carolina Panthers

At a whopping $24 million, Burns was slapped with the franchise tag by the Panthers. And though that’s a hefty salary for just one season, he and the organization are not seeing eye to eye right now. 

But the tag gives the Panthers more time for Burns, who has 46 career sacks over five seasons with 246 combined tackles and two Pro Bowl nods, to possibly find common ground on a lucrative, new deal. 

Burns has a non-exclusive tag with the Panthers, meaning he can talk to other teams. If a contract is sent his way, the Panthers have the opportunity to match it or take draft compensation instead. 

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WR Tee Higgins – Cincinnati Bengals

This move went down early. The Bengals announced late last month they were going to franchise tag Higgins for a $21.8 million cap hit. 

Like Burns, the Bengals want to continue negotiating with Higgins to keep him in the fold on an offense that quarterback Joe Burrow believed would feature Ja’Marr Chase and Higgins in 2024.

Higgins had a down year in 2023 after putting up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2021 and 2022, catching 42 balls for 656 yards and five touchdowns. Injuries had a lot to do with that. He missed five games, and Burrow also went down midway through the season with a wrist injury. 

Kansas City Chiefs vs Philadelphia eagles Super Bowl LVII

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith, left, cannot catch a pass while being defended by Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed during the first half of the Super Bowl Feb. 12, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. ( AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

CB L’Jarius Sneed – Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs used the non-exclusive tag on Sneed, a key member of their Super Bowl-winning formula, and his tag carries a value of over $19.8 million.

Chiefs GM Brett Veach said publicly he is going to keep Sneed and defensive tackle Chris Jones in the mix, and this franchise tag not only allows time for him to work out a possible long-term deal with his top cornerback, but also get Jones paid. 

Sneed, 27, has the ability to cover any receiver anywhere, and he is not afraid to defend at the line of scrimmage. Just ask Miami Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill about their meeting in the AFC wild-card round this year. 

Sneed has 10 career interceptions, 6½ sacks and 40 passes defended in his four seasons with the Chiefs. 

DT Justin Madubuike — Baltimore Ravens

Teams were licking their chops waiting to see what the Ravens did with Madubuike after his breakout 2023 campaign, and GM Eric DeCosta issued a statement Tuesday relaying the news that Madubuike will be franchise tagged. 

“We were unable to agree on a contract extension with Justin before the deadline and will use the franchise tag. Justin is a great player and person, and we will continue to negotiate a long-term deal with him.”

Baltimore will hope to avoid another Lamar Jackson situation in which extension talks get drawn out in public. But Madubuike, after collecting 13.0 sacks, 56 combined tackles and 33 quarterback hits, knows it’s his time to cash in. 

Bryce Young sacked

Josh Allen (41) of the Jacksonville Jaguars sacks Bryce Young (9) of the Carolina Panthers during the second quarter at EverBank Stadium Dec. 31, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla. (Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

DE Josh Allen — Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL Network reported Allen, the No. 7 overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, will get the franchise tag after playing on his fifth-year option last season and having a massive year with 17½ sacks and 33 quarterback hits.

Allen would be due $24 million if his franchise tag stood. 

The report added Allen, who has 45 sacks over five seasons with the Jags, and the organization will continue negotiating on a long-term pact. 

S Antoine Winfield Jr. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With wide receiver Mike Evans agreeing to terms on a long-term deal to stay in Tampa, the Bucs used their franchise tag on their All-Pro safety, though this appears to be a formality. 

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The Bucs also want to lock in Winfield long-term. If they can’t, though, he’d be due $17.123 million for next season. 

The 25-year-old is coming off his best season in 2023 when he had three interceptions, 12 passes defended, six sacks and eight quarterback hits. He also tallied 122 tackles, six of which were for a loss. 

His versatility on defense is everything a team wants from a safety, and Tampa Bay knows he’s due his big payday soon. We’ll see if the Bucs make that happen before the tag kicks in. 

Antoine Winfield Jr vs Panthers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) celebrates after making a defensive stop during a game against the Carolina Panthers Dec. 3, 2023, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

WR Michael Pittman Jr. – Indianapolis Colts

Pittman will be a $21.816 million cap hit next season, but he’s expected to continue working on a long-term deal, especially after what he’s been able to do on his rookie deal. 

The USC product had a career-high 1,152 yards and 109 catches along with four touchdown receptions during the 2023 season. He’s clearly emerged as the No. 1 receiver Indy hoped he would be when it drafted him in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. 

CB Jaylon Johnson – Chicago Bears

CBS reports Johnson will be getting franchise tagged as both sides try to find common ground on a new deal. 

Johnson, a second-round pick by Chicago in the 2020 NFL Draft, had his best year in 2023, collecting four interceptions, 10 passes defended, one forced fumble and 36 combined tackles. 

CB Kyle Dugger — New England Patriots

Unlike these other franchise-tagged players, the Pats placed the transition tag on Dugger. What’s the difference? If Dugger negotiates a contract with another team and the Patriots don’t want to match it, they won’t receive draft compensation from that team. 

The Patriots have the right to match any contract offer for Dugger in free agency. If he doesn’t get one, he will cost $13.8 million against the cap next season. 

Kyle Dugger runs back interception

Kyle Dugger (23) of the New England Patriots runs back an interception for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium Jan. 1, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

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Dugger had a career-best 109 tackles last season with 1½ sacks, one forced fumble, two interceptions and seven passes defended with the Patriots, who drafted him in the second round in 2020. 



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